Boxing Weekend Preview

With former titleholder Badou Jack moving up to light-heavyweight, the unfortunate injury to Anthony Dirrell, and Callum Smith deciding to compete in the World Boxing Super Series, the WBC super-middleweight championship on September 8 will now be contested between NABF champions David Benavidez (18-0) and Ronald Gavril (18-0) at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.

The unbeaten 20-year-old from Arizona, Benavidez, has knocked out 17 of his 18 opponents and the 31-year-old Romanian, Gavril, looks like he could be in for the same fate.

Standing at 6ft 2”, the Phoenix puncher is considered one of the brightest prospects at 168lbs in America.

According to his father Jose Benavidez, who is also his trainer, David started boxing aged three! He only had 15 amateur bouts but he won them all and turned pro aged 17, debuting in August 2013, his first seven bouts held in neighbouring Mexico.

Benavidez won the NABF Junior light-heavyweight title, his first belt, against Rollin Williams in his hometown in April 2015.

He won 16 of his first 17 fights by knockout, just one man­, Azamat Umarzoda, managed to last the distance in a standard six-rounder in his eighth pro bout and American debut in December 2014.

Benavidez faced his toughest test when he tackled former world title challenger Rogelio Medina in May this year. Medina was knocked down three times before the referee waved the fight off.

You could easily argue that both of these contenders are lucky to land this shot – Benavidez taking Smith’s slot and Gavril replacing a crocked Dirrell – but you can bet your last dollar that Benavidez, should he win, is going to be a credible and formidable champion for some time to come.

Whoever wins the WBSS and gets guaranteed the mandatory shot by the WBC will not be in for an easy ride if Benavidez has possession of the green belt. You can look forward to that mega-fight next year!

My prediction is that Benavidez scores an early KO victory.

World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight quarter-finals – Oleksandr Usyk v Marco Huck

The aforementioned World Boxing Super Series will kick off this weekend with the first of the cruiserweight quarter-finals between WBO world champion Oleksandr Usyk (12-0) and former world titleholder Marco Huck (40-4-1) at the Max-Schmeling-Halle, Berlin on September 9.

30-year-old Usyk, who took gold at heavyweight at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, will have been reigning WBO world champion for almost a full year when he enters the ring in Berlin having won the belt in Gdansk last September from Krzysztof Glowacki by unanimous decision, handing the Polish fighter his first defeat as a professional.

Interestingly, southpaw Glowacki defeated Huck to bag his WBO world cruiserweight strap having previously held the Inter-Continental and European versions.

The 6’3” southpaw Usyk has since defended his WBO belt twice, both times in America, knocking out Thabiso Mchunu in December and winning a unanimous decision against Michael Hunter, another unbeaten fighter, last April.

Known for his aggressive style and punching power, Huck is the second longest reigning cruiserweight world champion of all-time, having held the WBO title from 2009 to 2015, making thirteen consecutive successful defenses, which is a division record shared with Johnny Nelson.

32-year-old Huck, who made his pro debut almost a decade before Usyk, also held the IBO cruiserweight title from 2016 to 2017 and the European cruiserweight title from 2008 to 2009.

Another WBSS entrant Mairis Briedis beat Huck last time out but he remains confident that he can get back to winning ways against the tournament favourite, especially as he fights on home ground.

After 45 bouts and 12 years punching for pay, Huck’s dominance at the top is drawing to an end. He will give anyone at the top a hard night’s work but he is unlikely to match Usyk in his next fight.

The man from Kiev has an excellent schooling, is fresher and younger than Huck, and I hope that it will be a close contest ending in a points decision to Usyk and not a KO win that his 83% KO ratio could easily produce at any time.

Super-flyweight tripleheader – Wisaksil Wangek v Roman Gonzalez

California treats fans to a tripleheader this weekend featuring the five best 115-pounders in the world.

Headliner, Roman Gonzalez, will have the opportunity to avenge the contentious defeat of his pro career when he rematches with Wisaksil Wangek (43-4-1) at the StubHub Center in Carson for the WBC world super-flyweight title.

The 29-year-old Nicaraguan will be desperate to avenge his only loss in which he landed more punches in 10 of the 12 rounds and set a junior-bantamweight record by landing 372 power shots on Wangek, known as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, yet still walked away without his green belt and his first red mark on his record, which is why the WBC ordered a rematch.

“Chocolatito”, formerly recognized as The Ring Magazine’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter, lost his status along with his perfect record when he was headbutted repeatedly and forced to fight through a sea of blood in their meeting last March.

Both are big punchers and their last fight was wildly entertaining with tons of furious exchanges. Surprisingly, the pair share the exact same KO ratio of 81%.

“Chocolatito” stood strong under the 30-year-old Thai boxer’s power last March and I expect him to withstand any damage again in their replay on Saturday night.

I believe that Gonzalez will right a wrong this weekend and not leave the decision up to the judges this time. I think he will look to take his belt back by taking his opponent out, knowing he has been stopped on two occasions before.

Naoya Inoue v Antonio Nieves

The much-anticipated American debut of Japanese star Naoya Inoue (13-0) provides chief support to the above-mentioned replay with a WBO world super-flyweight title defence against challenger Antonio Nieves (17-1-2).

The winner of this contest will potentially setting up a much-bigger unification fight next year with the victor of the main event.

Lightly-regarded fighter from Cleveland, Nieves, drops down to 115lbs after losing his WBO NABO bantamweight belt earlier this year.

Americans can fully expect to see the full extent of the Japanese fighter’s talent when he clocks up another win on his record, most likely improving his KO tally from 11 out of 13 up to 12 from 14.

Carlos Cuadras v Juan Francisco Estrada

Lastly, there’s a tremendous matchup between Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1) and Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2) to complete the trilogy of terrific fights at 115lbs.

Mexicans Cuadras, 29, and Estrada, 27 – both of whom lost close decisions to Gonzalez – round out The Ring Magazine’s junior-bantamweight top five, along with Inoue, Wangek and “Chocolatito”, and will kick off the show with the winner mandated to meet the victor of the Wangek-Gonzalez rematch next.

Cuadras gave Gonzalez all he could handle last September, but turned in a lacklustre performance against David Carmona on the undercard of Wangek-Gonzalez I.

Now Cuadras will step up in competition again against a man considered to be one of the top 20 pound-for-pounders boxers in the world.

Estrada dropped a highly competitive decision to Gonzalez in 2012 at 108 pounds, and then went on to top Brian Viloria to become a unified titleholder at 112 pounds.

Estrada made five successful defences – including quality wins over Hernan Marquez, Giovani Segura and Milan Melindo – before he underwent hand surgery and moved up to 115 pounds.

Both can bang with Cuadras boasting a 71% KO ratio, slightly higher than Estrada’s 68% .

I’m edging towards Estrada as the most skilled of the pair but this is a fight where anyone can win at any time! Do not miss this one!

Related Posts

This website is strictly for over 18’s. If you do have any concerns about gambling please contact GambleAware
© 2023 The Gambling Times. All rights reserved.